The best budget-friendly eats at Disneyland and California Adventure

by Grace Fontes

A Southern California staple for nearly 70 years, Anaheim theme park Disneyland draws tourists and locals alike. Roughly an hour’s drive from the UCLA campus, Disneyland and its second theme park, California Adventure, provide visitors with a full day’s worth of entertainment through its rides, performances and upbeat atmosphere. But considering that tickets range from $104 to over $200 per day, the last thing you want to think about is spending another hundred on food items, as most sit-down restaurants start at $25 per person. When you’re spending all day and all three meals at the park, the cost can add up quickly, especially for the college student budget.

Here I present to you five food items I’ve discovered at both parks that are filling, delicious and around $10 or less.

Corn Dog and Chips

One of the most iconic theme park foods is also the perfect mid-day meal. Available from both Little Red Wagon (Disneyland) and Corn Dog Castle (California Adventure), the hand-dipped corn dog is a fast and easy pick that will definitely keep you going on your busy day. This surprisingly large and delicious corn dog also comes with a mandarin orange or bag of chips and will only cost you $10.59.

Cream Cheese Pretzel

My personal favorite morning or afternoon snack has to be the cream cheese-filled pretzel, which can be found at multiple spots around the parks, including Bayside Brews and the It’s a Small World pretzel stand. Sweet, savory and shockingly filling, these pretzels are easily worth their $6.49 price tag.

Chili Cone Queso and Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Cones

A spot that offers great options for any time of day is the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land at California Adventure. Here, one can find a range of cone-shaped delicacies, including beef chili with cheese and corn chips, as well as bacon macaroni and cheese in a bread cone. These are $9.99 and can be a great meal or snack.

Vegetable and Meat Skewers

A lighter yet still delicious option is found at Bengal Barbecue in Disneyland. Here you can find chicken, vegetable, beef and even pork belly skewers in an array of flavorful sauces. Due to their low price tag, I would definitely recommend grabbing a few that seem to your liking at meal times. Their various skewers range in price from $5.99 to $7.99.

Kid’s Meals

Another option that you can get anywhere in the parks is the kid’s meals, which range from the kiddie classics of hamburgers and chicken tenders to pasta and paninis. Though not as interesting, these typically remain under $10 and are a solid and easy pick for all ages.

Another budget-friendly tip: You can get cups of ice water at most food establishments, and there are fountains throughout the parks to refill your own water bottles. Hopefully, with these tips, your next trip to Disneyland can remain both enjoyable and within your budget!

Featured Illustration by Eric Yang/BruinLife.

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